Blaine Coury owns and operates Krazywake Productions, a premier video production firm that has worked with well-known brands like Red Bull, Rockstar Energy, Adidas, and Discount Tire.
After graduating valedictorian of his class with a degree in media arts form Collins College, Blaine earned a bachelor’s in marketing from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.
A native of the state of Washington, Blaine split his childhood between Redmond, Washington and Phoenix, Arizona. In both places however, he spent every possible minute outdoors. Whether it was building bike ramps, or out on the lake wakeboarding with friends, Blaine has always had to be where the action is.
Today that is still the case, but with a focus on his business: helping companies produce high impact videos for marketing, training, and internal communications.
When asked about his work, Blaine says “I enjoy growing my team, business, and client relationships just as much as being behind the camera. What keeps me going is meeting new people, learning about their passions, finding ways to help them execute, and together sharing in the success. A camera is just a tool that allows me do that.”
Career Success Q&A
What do you do for work?
I’m the owner of Krazywake Productions LLC.
My elevator pitch is, we help businesses and individuals deliver strategic messages through video to achieve incredible results. We make videos that companies need and want, without all the fluff and overhead of going through an ad agency or larger production company.
How long have you worked in this role?
I started my company in 2007, but our clients and projects have evolved quite a bit over the years.
What do you like most about your job?
I love that no two days are exactly the same. I’m in the field shooting as much – if not more – than I’m in the office. I get to work with some pretty incredible and talented people, have fun doing it, and I have control over the days and hours that I work.
What kind of formal schooling or training do you have?
I did get an associate’s degree in media arts from Collins College and a bachelor’s in marketing from Arizona State.
However, most of what I’ve needed to know for my career has been learned from picking up a camera, getting out and shooting, on the job learning from mentors, the internet, etc. Lots of trial and error.
I also joined a couple professional mastermind/mentor groups online which really helped me with the operational/business side of video production.
One of the big ones for me was Kre8Insights.com, originally started by Kris Simmons and Michael Gebben. … [That mastermind] is geared primarily towards video professionals in the wedding/event or corporate space.
I am periodically still active in the Facebook group. The biggest help there is being able to ask your peers questions about how they handle certain business scenarios, along with seeing the quality of other people’s work and how they are selling/marketing their services.
The level of transparency, positivism, and willingness to help in that group is really hard to find on the internet and that has everything to do with the original leaders Kris and Michael.
What kind of experience did you have before you began your current role?
Video production started as just a hobby for me. It wasn’t until I was at a loss of what to do in college that I realized there might be an opportunity to make a living with it.
In high school, I fell in love with the fast-paced sport of lacrosse and taught myself how to shoot and edit video highlight reels for my teammates. [That] quickly turned into bringing a camera with me everywhere I went.
After high school and trying out a couple different majors at Arizona State (including engineering and digital art), I transferred to a local design college, where I graduated valedictorian with an associate’s degree in media arts.
While freelancing in the action sports and event video world, I completed a bachelor’s degree in marketing at the W. P. Carey School of Business.
As I developed my skill-set I found various full and part-time jobs that gave me valuable industry knowledge. I worked as an audio/visual technician for live events at hotels, made videos for the School of Engineering at ASU, shot and distributed videos for local wakeboarding contests I used to compete in, and freelanced for other production companies in Phoenix.
It was actually my hobby, [making] action sports videos that led me to doing work for companies like Red Bull, Rockstar Energy, Adidas, and Discount Tire.
Do you have a mission statement or a guiding philosophy for your career?
Be interesting. Create value.
What excites you most about your career right now?
If you don’t have [excitement], you can’t really be a successful entrepreneur can you?
What excites me is knowing that I finally have a small team of talented people in place that depend on me, but who really help me focus on the business and executing projects for our clients.
I was a one-man band for a long time but that was definitely causing burnout.
My team members are all independent contractors who at the same time became great friends. Watching them grow their skill sets right alongside me and go after their own clients is what has been really rewarding.
There are others I work with on occasion, who are equally awesome and talented.
As for our clients, I have built relationships with individuals who have doubled as mentors and been huge champions for me and my business and allowed me to grow along with them over the years.
The important thing I have learned from them is that working with a Fortune 500 company is really no different at the end of the day than a small one person business. If you do great work, have fun, and treat them with respect, they will keep coming back. Sometimes there’s just a little more correspondence and a longer approval process.
What excites you about the future of your career?
The fact that it can all pivot and take a different course tomorrow, but that I have a skill set that is in high demand at the moment.
[Also] – I am currently working on re-naming and re-branding my business to better represent and focus on the type of work we are doing these days. The opportunities that this represents is exciting because there isn’t a lot of direct competition with our unique experience and skill-set.
How often do you read?
I try to read at least one new book per month. Mostly personal development and non-fiction, but I mix in a good fiction book every once in a while too.
What books would you recommend to other people trying to improve themselves professionally?
One of my favorite lesser known short reads is Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn. It’s a great true story about an ordinary mailman who brings his passion for what he does with him every day and the impact it has on the people he interacts with.
Another unique book is titled Procrastinate on Purpose by Rory Vaden. It’s a very different take on time management and has been highly influential in how I manage my workload.
Of course, there are plenty of classics that every business professional should read like, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Good to Great, [and] The Four Hour Work Week.
Is there another type of media you regularly consume as a means of continuing your professional education?
I am a regular listener of podcasts, audio books, and YouTube videos.
Simply diving into the world of all the great free professional development in your free/travel/commute time rather than mindless Netflix or TV marathons will go a long way to keeping you motivated and looking for the next opportunity to grow.
Do you have a regular routine or set of fundamentals you follow as a way of ensuring you’re always improving yourself professionally?
One of my nonnegotiable things is exercise. I try to do some form of deliberate and focused physical activity, preferably outdoors 15-60 mins a day -usually in the mornings. This lifts the morning mind fog and gives me the energy and focus I need the rest of the day to be effective and stay on task.
Someone much smarter than me once said something to the effect of, we will be the same person we are today 5 or 10 years from now except for the people we meet and the books we read. I subscribe to that idea but like to add, and the places we see/experience.
With that in mind, I consciously surround myself with other motivated and successful people, read, and travel as often as possible.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever been given/taught is how to sell and communicate value.
When you learn how to communicate the difference between value and price, and you’re selling a product or service you truly believe in, then you really set yourself up for success. When you learn how much your services are worth, you’ll stop giving people discounts.
Who are your most influential mentors and why do you admire them?
One of my biggest mentors was probably my grandfather. He was a business owner and just worked really hard his whole life.
As a result, he had incredible friendships, stories, and I got to see the impact his success had on my family.
My biggest celebrity idol is Mike Rowe. I love his philosophy around work ethic and the skilled trades, but I have taken to heart countless lessons from authors like Tim Ferriss, Malcom Gladwell, Dave Ramsey, etc.
If I’m being honest though, the people I have learned the most from have been the ones I work with every day and over the years.
What are a few of your short-term and long-term career goals?
In the short-term I’d like to get my business more focused on the type of video work we’ve sort of fallen into doing and become really good at executing that.
Long-term, I’d like to find some additional ways to generate revenue that don’t involve client video while giving back or educating others who might find themselves on a similar or relatable career path.
This life isn’t about us, it’s about our call to serve others. The really cool part is that the better we do that, the more handsomely we’re usually rewarded.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced over the course of your career?
Without a doubt the most challenging part has been letting go of certain responsibilities and finding the right people to build a team, and delegating. I think most entrepreneurs, especially in the skilled trade world have a hard time with this.
Have you overcome this challenge?
I have but I could still be much better.
The hardest part is making the time among the whirlwind of daily tasks and deadlines to actually seek out and hire the right people. Then once you have them, there’s always that trial/training period where you’re not entirely sure if it would be easier to hand them something or just do it yourself.
You have to be willing to invest in them before you will really see the potential benefits.
[BRENDAN’S NOTES] In an article I wrote about how professionals can achieve more career fulfillment and how the companies they work for can help, I mention an interview that Jonathan Raymond gave on Geoff Wood’s podcast.
In that interview they discuss how team leaders, managers, bosses, etc. can best develop the individuals they work with by creating an environment of growth through accountability, transparency, and tactful mentorship.
Johnathan and Geoff also discuss that the time it takes to train someone to do any one thing. Realistically it can take 30 times as long as it would take to do the same task once. This concept is often referred to as the 30X Rule.
On the front end training is a time-suck, but by training someone to perform a task on your behalf, you gain exponential time savings in the long run. The time you gain from training others and delegating work makes tactful mentorship that much more valuable.
What have you found to work really well for fostering your own professional growth?
Making sure I use any slower season or down times to re-focus and work ON my business or skill-sets rather than just IN my business. Not being afraid to reach out and ask questions to other professionals who I know have been in my shoes or are at that next level I’m trying to get to.
What is a professional challenge you’re still looking for a solutions to?
I know I’m late to the party but I really want to get serious about starting a blog, and potentially a podcast. That means finding the time and confidence to write more and solicit feedback and hopefully finding an audience to resonate with.
[BRENDAN’S NOTES] Here are just a few resources I’d start with:
Blogging & Other Content That Gets Traffic
Are you currently working on any projects we should be aware of?
I recently purchased ActiveFreelancer.com as a passion project and plan to turn that into a motivational resource for people who are starting businesses of their own or working as independent contractors. [I hope to help] them create and balance meaningful work with an active, healthy lifestyle.
So many young people today are after the overnight success story, the entrepreneurial – work from home and travel all the time – lifestyle but don’t really understand what that looks like or the hard work it takes to do it for real.
I haven’t worked out all the details of what it’s going to be or look like, but I’m pretty excited about it. It’ll be a resource I wish I had when I was first getting started.
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